Fight or Flight – Survival Self Defense

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The idea behind home prepping and bug-out survival is maintaining a constant state of readiness for a disaster situation and making the most of what you have, knowing you may be forced to leave the normalcy of your life behind. Although you now have a better idea of what you need and can use to bolster your home security or survive on the road, sometimes your best efforts won’t stop a persistent attacker, and you may be forced to defend yourself without a conventional weapon.


Hand-to-hand combat should always be your last resort when it comes to stopping a foe, but you must be versed in some basic fighting skills in case you come face-to-face with one.

Rules of Self-Defense

Quite simply, there are no rules when it comes to survival. No matter what type of disaster causes a breakdown of society, every person affected will begin living by survival of the fittest. If you want to live, you must use everything at your disposal and use every dirty trick in the book to stop your attacker. With that said, there are a few guidelines to follow to either avoid or win a fight.


  1. Avoid dangerous situations – You will probably be safe in your home if you have installed the proper perimeter defenses. If you’re bugging out or forced to venture out in search of supplies, avoid situations and locations that seem dangerous. After all, the best self-defense is avoiding conflict altogether.
  2. Observe everything – You must sharpen your senses in a survival situation and be aware of everything and everyone around you. Learn how to identify body language to determine the intent of a potential attacker.
  3. Portray confidence – Think of your attacker like a shark. If they can sense fear or weakness in you they will be more likely to attack. Confidence comes with training and experience, but you can still fake it ’til you make it.
  4. Strike first – If you are forced to fight, be the one to throw the first blow, and make it as hard-hitting as possible. Your mission is to take down your opponent and take the fight out of her both physically and psychologically.
  5. Run – In a survival situation, you aren’t a criminal (or a wuss) if you flee from a fight. If you have the possibility to avoid physical engagement altogether, run away as fast as you can to a safe location. Otherwise, try and cause as much damage to your opponent as possible as to immobilize him then get away pronto.

Hit ’Em Where it Hurts

Become familiar with the pressure points located throughout the body as well as appropriate strikes that will trigger intense and incapacitating pain. The eyes, nose, throat and ears are especially weak. Don’t be afraid to gouge the eyes, punch the throat, or clap the ears with both hands— all effective ways to stop an attacker. An attack to the groin (on men in particular) is another option to consider if the opportunity presents itself. A strong strike to the kidney area can knock the wind out of most people, and a kick to the knee will send a large man tumbling to the ground.


While throwing a punch or swinging a kick may give you the best reach, they are not the most damage-inflicting parts of the body to strike with. The elbow is actually the strongest point on the body, but it requires some extra dexterity and skill to use effectively. If you can get close enough to your attacker, an elbow is more likely to break the nose or trigger intense pain than a closed fist or foot. Women and children are less likely to be able to land an elbow strike against a large male attacker, but using it in combination with other strikes can cause some real damage.


Striking with the knee and head are also alternatives to punching and kicking. Though they are also among the pressure points that are most sensitive to pain, they are also capable of being used to inflict the most damage. A head-butt to the nose of an opponent, or knee to the groin or stomach, can cause enough pain to buy you time to run away.


Always try to stay in control of the situation and be the one to act first and (ideally) last. In the case an attacker rushes you, your time and options will be limited as to where and how to strike. If you have a moment to feel your opponent out and read the clues as to how she may strike, you can pick out the best place to attack based on her position. In other words, don’t overextend your reach to land a punch to the face if it is easier (and closer) to kick at your attacker’s knees.


Keep in mind that no rules apply. Even if you have to kick, thrash, bite or claw your way out of the reach of an aggressor, you must try everything and anything to get away with your life. Taking a single self-defense class could supply you with the general knowledge and skills needed to get out of a fight, but practice makes perfect (as in all survival skills).




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